In hindsight, if there’s one thing I could’ve changed about my life, it would have been to study journalism. In any case, that hasn’t taken away my love for everything for that screams media. And I enjoy watching movies, especially ones marked by a strong script and great character performances. It’s probably no surprise that The Post had been on my watchlist for a while. (Anything Meryl Streep always does).
And I wasn’t disappointed. At all. Because in my opinion, the movie was phenomenal. While the story was based on a real incident (the Washington Post disclosing information about the United States’ involvement in the Vietnamese war), it does take a Spielberg-esque prowess to make a dated movie with every inch of authenticity intact, not let the storyline loose and bring out such powerful performances from its crew.
Above everything else, two things in the movie intrigued me. As a 21st century, always-on millennial, I found it rather fascinating to see how a few decades back, information was almost a property of the press. How else would someone sitting in a remote corner of the United States know what was going on in Vietnam? There was no internet, remember? The only organizations that had the resources to send journalists to far-flung destinations across the globe were journalists. And for someone (like pretty much most millennials), who carries the world on her mobile phone, this was almost surreal. We didn’t grow up in an era where information was guarded. Or there were only a few channels that had the ability to broadcast information, real-time. Which makes even more sense why legacy media institutions commanded such positions of power, particularly in powerful democracies. I wonder if that is a boon or a bane though, especially compared to the times when there’s almost an information overload of sorts. But on second thoughts, I do think information monopoly is a bane. Information should never be a guarded property. And the focus of any media company should be on high quality journalism, not to withhold information.
And second thing. I thought the movie had several takeaways for leadership. I learned that nepotism isn’t always planned. Some times, it just happens, given life circumstances. And even then, while nepotism may give you the opportunity, the decisions and choices you make in that position of power are uniquely yours. And so is the responsibility for them. As someone who finds themselves in positions of power simply because they were born into it, there comes a time when you have to free yourself from the burden of the legacy you’re carrying, and carve your own niche. Challenging but critical. I learned that strong leaders are ones who ask for advice, but in the end, follow their own gut instinct. And do not feel the need to justify them to every one, even those who they might have held as close confidantes and even mentors all their lives. Strong leaders are decisive, agile, and brave. And more than anything else, powerful leaders execute, delegate, and take one for the team. Always. Because while every success may have a singular face, it almost always takes a village.
The funny coincidence is how timely the movie was. In a time where the last few years have been witness to institutions of power falling part, The Post highlights how critical it is to in the end, to always stay true to your purpose, no matter what. And the importance of letting that always be the guiding star, especially in turbulent times. For at least in context of the film, both the past and future has belonged to people who took courageous decisions, and stood by them.